An elaborate hoax has fooled thousands of sports fans into thinking that the Washington Redskins finally dumped its much-derided team name to re-brand itself as the “Washington Redhawks.”

On Wednesday a series of webpages were posted mimicking the look of popular sports sites such as ESPN and Bleacher Report featuring fake stories claiming that the Redskins have jettisoned their name and replaced it with the “Washington Redhawks.”

The stories contain photoshopped images of a “new” logo replacing the Redskins Indian logo with a stylized bird’s head.

The fake news stories also feature statements from Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and head coach Jay Gruden saying that the new name will purportedly take effect this coming weekend.

The hoax webpages are very convincing, but a close look at the URLs proves that the pages don’t really belong to ESPN, the Washington Post and the other well-known sites they are spoofing.

There's an elaborate hoax going around about the Washington Redskins changing their name to the Redhawks. Someone made fake WaPo, ESPN, SI and Bleacher Report pages for it (the urls are all wrong)

— Eric Morrow (@morroweric) December 13, 2017

Washington Post sports writer Dan Steinberg tweeted out a series of posts alerting fans to the hoax:

Here's the fake Bleacher Report version

— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) December 13, 2017

Obviously would want to talk to whoever made this if anyone knows

— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) December 13, 2017

Here's the fake ESPN version

— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) December 13, 2017

Who ever created the webpages also launched a fake team website featuring the new “Redhawks” logo.

It is all a scam, of course. Redskins owner Snyder is well known for saying he will never, ever change the team’s name despite the angst it causes liberal activists.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

Original Article

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